Max Wheeler is CEO of Alminder Inc., creator of the Mynd Calendar app for the iPhone.
Your schedule is out of control, and that makes you feel out of control because there’s simply not enough time in the day to get everything done. Sound familiar?
If you’re finding it more challenging than ever to juggle the demands of both your professional and personal life, you’re not alone. Many people in today’s competitive and hectic work environment are now putting in extra hours via their personal wireless devices to be “on call” – even when they’re not physically at work.
While this trend can help with efficiencies and staying afloat in the working world, it is indirectly creating a number of unhealthy habits. The need for people to “always be in digital loop” actually contributes to increased stress levels.
It also, in turn, results in a reduction in time for regular exercise, an increase in unhealthy eating habits and less time for relaxation.
If you’re like most people, stress and unhealthy habits often come from the simple fact that you just have way too much on your plate. However, it’s important to realize how critical it is to find a way to blend work, family and social aspects of your life into a healthy balance that not only keeps you organized, but also makes you feel fit and comfortable.
So, how can you block off time for doing the things that you need to do but also maintain a healthy combination of work, personal health and happiness?
First, when you feel like you have too much to do, remind yourself that everything doesn’t need to get done all at once. Take a deep breath, calm down and prioritize. Plan to do the most important task first and have faith that the rest will get done in due time.
While today’s smartphone apps can’t necessarily make you actually lose weight, eat healthier, exercise or socialize more, they can help with both discipline and time management, which ultimately can lead you to a more holistic, improved balance in your life.
Here are a few healthy ways you can use a smart calendar as more than just a simple date keeper:
1. Put everything in one place
One way to reduce stress levels is by making your information accessible. Use a smart calendar app to put everything you have to “do” into one, easy-to-find place and create time slots for each activity.
You can include everything from work meetings, quality time with your kids, healthy snack time, fitness goals, reminders to call your mom, as well as daily affirmations.
2. Get moving
It’s hard to make time for exercise when you have a jam-packed schedule. However, exercise can help you get more done by boosting your energy level and ability to concentrate.
Research shows that exercise can help you to be more alert. Be sure to schedule regular fitness sessions into your calendar and remind yourself to do it.
3. Build downtime into your schedule
Be proactive about scheduling. When you plan your week, make it a point to set aside alone time, or time with family and friends – anything that can help you recharge your batteries.
From taking a hot bath, reading a book, going for a walk or listening to music, it’s important to carve some time for the things that ease stress and contribute to a healthier, more holistic lifestyle.
Or, if a date night or baseball game with friends is on your calendar, you’ll have something to look forward to (and an extra incentive to manage the rest of your time well).
4. Keep your to-do list on your digital calendar
If you have lots of small tasks to get done each week, block off 30 or 60 minutes on your calendar and challenge yourself to see how many you can knock off in that timeframe.
You can also retrieve the list easily, giving you the chance to update it at any time, and delete items off the list as you complete them.
5. Keep a gratitude journal
Studies have shown a wide range of impressive health benefits from the simple act of writing down the things you feel grateful for in your life. Benefits can range from getting better sleep, experiencing fewer symptoms of illness, and higher levels of happiness among adults and kids alike.
Use your calendar to remind yourself to show your gratitude, appreciation and love for the people and things around you each day. Eventually, you might not even need to be reminded to do it.
6. Remember that a little relaxation goes a long way
Don’t assume that you need to make big changes to bring more balance to your life. Set realistic goals in your calendar, such as leaving work earlier one night a week.
Slowly build more activities into your schedule that are healthy and enjoyable to you. For example, start by spending an hour a week on a favorite hobby, or even planning a special weekend getaway.
Paying attention and making changes to all aspects of your life, including stress management and making time for physical fitness, eating habits, relationships, and daily work or volunteer activities, can have far-reaching positive effects on both your mental and physical health. There is no right or wrong way to go about making these changes and you can make them at your own pace.
By using a mobile calendar creatively, you can construct order even within your everyday chaos, helping you to lead a healthier, more stress-free life.